A Nigerian senator has appeared in court in London to face charges of conspiring to transport a 15-year-old boy to the United Kingdom in order to harvest his organs.
Ike Ekweremadu, 60, and his wife Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55, appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in west London on Thursday.
When asked to confirm their address, the couple replied: “Nigeria.”
The court heard how the couple, both of whom are prominent public figures in Nigeria, trafficked the homeless 15-year-old boy from Nigeria to the U.K. using a fake passport with a view to transplanting his organs into their daughter who is suffering from kidney failure.
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Police were alerted to their intentions after a doctor at the Royal Free Hospital in Camden became suspicious about whether or not the boy was aware that he was donating a kidney, and questioned his age of 41 as stated on his fake passport.
Mr. Ekweremadu, who served three terms as deputy president of the Senate in Nigeria, and his wife deny the charges.
Prosecutor Damla Ayas told Uxbridge Magistrates Courton Thursday: “The victim was 15. In Nigeria, he was approached by both defendants. He was homeless on the streets of Lagos. They deceived him and promised him a better life in the UK. He was given a passport for a 41-year-old. The passport was illegally obtained by these defendants.
“He was provided with a medical travel visa saying the purpose of the travel was to provide medical treatment for the defendants’ daughter who was undergoing dialysis in relation to a number of health issues.
“It was premeditated, it was planned. Blood tests were obtained in Nigeria and he traveled to the U.K. in February this year.
“He was taken to several medical appointments in particular a medical appointment at the Royal Free Hospital and was spoken to by a consultant about the organ harvesting for a kidney transplant.
“The consultant was concerned about his actual age and was concerned he was not aware he was the donor of the kidney. He only found out that the purpose of his visit was for an organ transplant when he visited the hospital.”
U.K. authorities arrested the couple at Heathrow Airport on June 22 as they attempted to board a plane to Turkey. Ekweremadu is also understood to have been in possession of £20,000 in cash at the time of his arrest.
The 15-year-old boy has since been taken into the custody of the U.K.